Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S01E12 – Bad Wolf

In the twelfth episode of the first series of Doctor Who, I WAS NEVER PREPARED FOR ANY OF THIS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.

Russel T. Davies just punched me in the face. What the fuck. WHAT THE FUCK.

“The Long Game” was never truly explained as a title, even though we thought it was. It was a hint to the endgame of the series.


Satellite Five was manipulated in a way to, in turn, manipulate the Doctor so he would eliminate the news feeds and the reality programming would take over the airwaves. THE DOCTOR CAUSED THE EARTH TO STOP PROGRESSING. OH MY GOD. That statement about how history was not progressing as it should beÒ€¦IT WAS THE DOCTOR’S FAULT.

And Bad Wolf. The Badwolf Corporation runs everything. And it’s FUCKING DALEKS.


asjdf;lasdf;asdiuf af;kasj fdaiosdfh ;askan fmasdfh


That was my brain this episode. I can’t believe it. I FEEL USED AND TRICKED. Oh my god, astral plane high fives to Russell Davies for this brilliance.

So that I don’t slip off the deep end of incoherency, let’s turn to one giant list to attempt to organize my thoughts. You don’t need me to summarize the plot this time around.


  • I love that Big Brother still exists that far in the future, as well as the The Weakest Link. Also, according to Wikipeda, Anne Robinson is actually the voice of the Anne Droid. Neat!
  • Of course Captain Jack Harkness gets sent to a show that’s like What Not To Wear. Could it be any other way? Interestingly enough, he was the only contestant out of him, Rose, and the Doctor that didn’t worry me. I figured he’d get out easily.
  • why was Harkness hiding a gun in his butt πŸ™
  • I would have expected a premise like this (citizens forced to play games and be on reality TV, with the grand prize being life) from Moffat. Not that I am a Moffat expert or anything, but the idea that something so banal could be so terrifying seems quite Moffat.
  • As soon as the camera pulled out and I saw they were on Satellite Five, my brain pulled a Scanners.
  • Let’s talk about the most horrifying part of this episode: as Rose faces off against Rodrick, I believed the suspense, but only to a point. Obviously the Doctor was going to get to her, but suspense in these situations is all about how the people pull this off. So when I saw the Doctor arriving to the room where Rose is competing, I figured that Jack would just blast the Anne Droid with the gun. And thenÒ€¦..she was disintegrated. I couldn’t believe it. It’s still so shocking to think about. They actually did it. I don’t know when companions switch out for the remained of Nu-Who, so I completely believed she was dead for series one, and that she’d be replaced for series two. And she went out in the saddest, most terrifying way possible.
  • BUT WAIT NOT DEAD. I normally don’t love stories that kill off characters and then go, “Just kidding!”, but it works so well here because Davies then re-punches you in the face with terrible. Because when Jack learns the contestants are not disintegrated, but transmatted to a seemingly empty area in space, it’s revealed that nearly half a million Daleks are still alive and have been manipulating everything. Not a couple, but half a million.
  • Even better? The Doctor heroically stands up to them, giving one hell of a speech, and Davies counters that by showing the true scope in size of the Daleks AS THEY START TO INVADE EARTH. Shit is fucked up.
  • “The human race. Brainless sheep, being fed on a diet of–mind you, have they Bear With Me? I love that one!” “And me. The celebrity edition, where the bearÒ€¦” “Ò€¦.got in the bath!” “But it’s all gone wrong! I mean, history’s gone wrong. Again!”
  • “Do you mind flirting outside?” “I was just saying hello.” “For you, that’s flirting.”
  • This is the first real confirmation that Captain Jack Harkness will hit on anyone. For me, at least. I thought he was joking around in that first scene where we meet him in “The Empty Child” and he hits on the male soldier. Nope. Totally into everyone!
  • No. ‘Cause this is what I’m gonna do–I’m gonna rescue her! I’m gonna save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet, and then I’m gonna save the Earth, and then–just to finish you off–I’m gonna wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!” “But you have no weapons, no defenses, no plan.” “Yeah, and doesn’t that scare you to death?” BEST QUOTE EVER OR BEST QUOTE EVER

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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343 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S01E12 – Bad Wolf

  1. kaybee42 says:

    I have been waiting for your review on this! It is my FAVOURITE episode of the series! (contoversial, I know!)
    "“No. ‘Cause this is what I’m gonna do–I’m gonna rescue her! I’m gonna save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet, and then I’m gonna save the Earth, and then–just to finish you off–I’m gonna wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!” “But you have no weapons, no defenses, no plan.” “Yeah, and doesn’t that scare you to death?” BEST QUOTE EVER OR BEST QUOTE EVER" Yessssssssssss!

  2. who cares says:

    Lynda with a Y, sweet, sweet Lynda. Sadly she lives in a world were being sweet won't help you win.

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      And the look of pure jealousy on Rose's face when her Doctor dares to be friendly with another girl! I mean, it's OK for her to have Captain Eye Candy around, but the Doctor friends with another girl? No way!

    • syntheticjesso says:

      I love Lynda With A Y <3

  3. Internet User 027 says:

    Awesome review! I swear, exactly what was going through my head when I watched this!
    Though I stand with those who think that Empty Child/Doctor Dances are the best episodes in this series, my favorite has to be The Unquiet Dead or Boom Town.

    Also, my friend keeps linking me to fanfic rated "T for Jack Harkness". Oy vey… but Jack = Love.

    Ah, frak. EDIT – I was just thinking about how much this episode would freak you out as you posted it.

  4. Treasure Cat says:

    I would have expected a premise like this (citizens forced to play games and be on reality TV, with the grand prize being life) from Moffat.
    Or, you know, Suzanne Collins πŸ˜›

  5. Andrew says:

    Torchwood is a spin-off series from Dr Who. Might be worth considering watching (just for fun, or for this blog).

  6. Stephanie says:

    I want to say so much, but I know I'll end up posting a spoiler for tomorrow, so I'll just have to wait.
    All I can say is, YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!!

  7. DLXian says:

    Jack wasn’t on a show LIKE What Not to Wear… he was ON What Not to Wear… based on the original BBC show, not the TLC show.

    • DLXian says:

      oh… and he has a butt-gun for situations just like that one.

      • Araniapriime says:

        AND just like the Anne-droid, the voices of the robot hosts on this "What Not to Wear' were done by the ACTUAL FOR REAL HOST OF THE REAL BRITISH SHOW! AND the voiceover for the "Big Brother" segments was done by the REAL UK HOST OF BIG BROTHER. This goes to show you how much of a national treasure Doctor Who is — that stars of popular British TV programmes are thrilled and happy to be parodied in an episode!

        DIDJA SEE WHERE JACK FEELS UP THE ROBOT? In his "What Not to Wear" sequence, when he's talking to one of the robot hosts, he TOTALLY GROPES HER ROBO-BREAST. <3 I love Captain Jack. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

        • flootzavut says:

          AND Big brother is on a totally different UK channel who agreed to let them use the format etc, which generally speaking Would Not Happen. That is how big DW is πŸ™‚

        • vermillioncity says:

          The British hosts of 'What Not To Wear' are called Trinny and Susannah – on DW, Trin-E and Zuzanna =D

      • Megan says:

        Mmmm, Jack’s butt-gun. I wish he’d use it again. πŸ˜‰

    • Tallie says:

      Exactly! I think a *lot* of this episode is lost on non-Brits. Everything in each "episode" is identical to the current British counterpart – right down to the oranges-and-lemons-type arch the Big Brother contestants made as Crosbie was being evicted – that year's Big Brother contestants had adopted the same ritual the summer before The Long Game aired.

      • Openattheclose says:

        I love it that Big Brother is still going to be running in the year 200,100. It's probably a TV trope, and I know American sci-fi does it all the time too, but it seems unlikely that almost the exact format of that show, complete with Davina's voice, would still be playing in 200,100.

        • calimie says:

          That's why this episode doesn't do it for me. I get the social commentary, and the Doctor at the house was a sight to see, but I just don't buy that they'd keep the exact same music, presenters, format…

          • who cares says:

            It's retro. They're remaking the shows like they were at the hight of human television.

            • calimie says:

              Is that mentioned in the episode? I guess I missed it.

              • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                Yeah, it didn't seem to be an exact replica, but more so a robotic equivalent of it.

                Plus, human growth is stunted. Humans wouldn't question a show running for 100 years.

                • calimie says:

                  Ah yes, of course no one would question it.

                  Still, as a viewer, it kicks me out of the story and I can't help but wonder while I'm watching it how dated that part is going to be in a few years.

                  • Mandi says:

                    You have to remember that this episode originally aired a few years ago… So you're statement that it will be dated in a few years doesn't quite work, since it has been a few years. I don't argue that it might become outdated eventually, but we're not trying to please viewers 198,090 years from now.

                    • calimie says:

                      Yes, that's what I didn't add because I didn't want to give the impression that I hated the episode.

                      It already felt dated to me a) when I was watching back then, since the Spanish edition of The Weakest Link was already off the waves and b) when I was rewatching now and it's been only 5 years.

              • who cares says:

                No that's just me fanwanking an explanation.

          • Openattheclose says:

            Yeah, and Big Brother is still pretty "new" in comparison to some other game shows, wouldn't they have more staying power? If I could buy anything still being around at that point, it would be a long running soap opera or a talk show. Though for game shows, I could totally see Wipe Out lasting, if it's the same Wipe Out that I am familiar with.

            • calimie says:

              Yeah, exactly. I'd say a soap opera has a much greater "hooking power" than this type of game shows, even if the contestants die. Particularly The Weakest Link and What not to Wear. In Big Brother you get to know them and the audience might be sad to see them 'leave', but who cares about the ones in The Weakest Link? Then again, the Daleks are not great on emotions.

              I just wish there had been some variations after 100 years of them, not just robots instead of people.

              Deadly Wipe Out sounds like something the Gamemakers would love, lol.

            • kaybee42 says:

              What's wipe out? Is it total wipeout and you are just shortening the name or is it a show in its own right? I LOVE to watch total wipeout πŸ˜€

          • swimmingtrunks says:

            Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of the reality TV bits, but it could have been worse. I'm always inclined to think that the prevalent existence of current pop culture in the fictional future seems a little like laziness or wishful thinking, or at its worst a sense of self-importance. Still, RTD chose a rather safe route, and the episode could have been far more silly if he had tried to milk the situation for more commentary and created original attempts at epitomical shows for this very purpose.

            • Openattheclose says:

              THIS. Exactly what I was trying to say. It does seem a bit self-important, but I suppose it would have seemed really silly to have all new genres of television shows invented.

      • Karen says:

        haha. I agree. Ugh. Big Brother. It's still so popular in the UK. WHHHYYYYYY?

        At this point, I have no trouble believing that it'll still be popular thousands of years in the future. haha.

  8. potlid007 says:

    Question: What would Jack Harkness do?
    Answer: EVERYTHING

  9. psycicflower says:

    Oh thank god this is up earlier than usual. Essay reading is driving me mad.
    Can you believe that the big Dalek twist was actually the main part of the previous end of episode promo. I don't know how they could give away something that big.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    ‘Ladies, your viewing figures just went up.’ Fun fact, they actually had a full shot of Jack naked from behind but ended up not being allowed to use it. Way to ruin our fun.

    I think they had a lot of fun using all the reality tv programmes. I especially loved all the made up questions for the Weakest Link. All the droids were voiced by the real people as far as I know.
    ‘No one’s got a garden anymore.’ That randomly makes me really sad.
    I also feel really bad for the controller. She's been there since she was 5 years old being treated like nothing more than a glorified processor. At least she got some form of revenge in the end.

    It's a bit like Margaret said, the Doctor always runs away at the end. He never stops and thinks what happens next. This just hammers home that even the Doctor's actions have consequences and that he's not perfect.

    I love how it goes from a deadly quiet Doctor one moment to a man with a plan breaking out the next. The end of the episode is one of the Ninth Doctor's best moments. You can't help but sit there and think hells yeah!

    Are you ready for your first Doctor Who finale because I can assure you, you are not prepared.

    • Openattheclose says:

      I really felt bad for the controller, I think she is one of my favorite "minor" characters. She totally had an excellent plan by using the games to hide the Doctor in. Can you imagine the Daleks flipping through the channels and channels of crappy reality shows trying to find him?

      • Suspicious Cookie says:

        If we're talking about the Controller, then it must be fanfic time!

        It's what I call 'headcanon fic'. This is one of those fics that worms its way into your headcanon and just won't leave, because it is so right and true and feels like part of the show.

        Poor Controller πŸ™

    • swimmingtrunks says:

      Doctor Who promos (at least from this season) are like the anti-Mad Men promos. One reveals less than nothing, the other, EVERYTHING.

      • psycicflower says:

        It's been such a long time since I watched series 1 without skipping past the end credits that I'd forgotten just how bad the end of ep ones used to be, especially given how much I love the pre series and mid series trailers and promos.

      • spectralbovine says:

        Sometimes they do spoil ridiculous things like Dalek reveals, but sometimes, they're amazing at creating tension and suspense while not telling you a goddamn thing about what's going to happen in the next episode. There are a few promos I really, really love.

    • calimie says:

      OMG, you're right, they're awful! They spoil everthing! And then, the one for the last episode is rather good and conservative, you can't make out what's happening. WTF

      • nyssaoftraken74 says:

        The one at the end of Boom Town was the worst. It actually revealed that the Daleks were in it! Way to ruin the whole point of the episode!

    • IsabelArcher2 says:

      Yeah, I'm trying to watch the series for the first time. I'm using Netflix through my xbox, which has been problematic because of the promos. I've been trying to not watch them because I know how freaking spoilery they can be, but by the time the episode ends, my controller has turned off, so I have a panic-attack trying to turn the controller back on (so I can shut it off) and simultaneously shutting my eyes/making odd vocal noises.

      Why do they have to include the promos on Nextflix? If I want to know what the next show is about, I can read the description. It seems unnecessary.

      • psycicflower says:

        Unlike a lot of other shows the promos for Doctor Who are practically part of the epiosdes themselves since they come before the credits and are not a seperate entity that the BBC happens to show after every episode. I'm guessing Netflix just has them because of this. Even the DVDs still have the promos attached tp the episodes.

        • Megan says:

          If you watch commentary, apparently they put the promos in becausw Every Single Episode was short. They did it for time. Which I think is interesting, because then they didn’t stop.

          • exbestfriend says:

            I know you don't make the rules so I *shouldn't* complain to you and I in NO WAY mean for you to feel like you have to defend yourself, bc yet again, I don't think you made the rules, but that doesn't make any sense to me. I understand why they would add the promos in for initial television viewing, but why in the world would you keep them for DVD or internet viewing.

      • Openattheclose says:

        That happens to me every time I try to watch a DVD on my XBox! I've already seen all of the Who eps, but still, every time I try to pause the darn DVD my controller has turned off πŸ™

    • kaleidoscoptics says:

      (Un)expected Naked Jack!

    • arctic_hare says:

      Fun fact, they actually had a full shot of Jack naked from behind but ended up not being allowed to use it. Way to ruin our fun.

      I know πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™ Sadness forever!

    • feanna says:

      Re promo:

      In this case my suspicion is that they were trying to get more viewers. People who might not routinely watch new Who might tune in for a DALEK-EPISODE!! Didn't they do the same for a Special (spoiling to get people to watch the special return of…)? Probably they've done it more often than that, I've never seen the promos, so I couldn't say.

  10. who cares says:

    So what's everyone's favourite tv-show segment.

    The Doctor on Big Brother
    Jack on a Fashion Show
    Rose on The Weakest Link.

    I can't decide between Jack and the Doctor.

    • psycicflower says:

      It's so hard to choose.
      Rose has the tension, Jack has the humour, and the Doctor has spot on commentary on BB and similar shows.

    • DLXian says:

      I choose Rose, b/c of the guilt and horror she goes through as contestant after contestant dies around her and not only can she not save them, she has to contribute to their deaths to survive.

    • Openattheclose says:

      Jack's is pretty awesome.

    • SiobhanC says:

      I like Rose and the Weakest Link the most because it was the most tense and Ann Robinson has always scared me so it worked well, lol. πŸ˜€

    • arctic_hare says:

      Because I'm a total perv, I go with Jack, because we got naked John Barrowman out of it.

    • ravendaine says:

      They're all so good, but I say The Weakest Link. Rose is so flippant in how she treats the whole future gameshow situation, and then when the first person dies… The horror in her reaction gets me every time.

  11. Fuchsia says:

    I'm finally home and have caught up to you (watching the last episode now) so I can feel competent in commenting again! πŸ˜›

    Captain Jack Harness truly *will* hit on everyone. This is something that would normally annoy me to no end, and does with lots of other people (true life or fictional characters) but he pulls it off in a way that's just hilarious.

    The games each person was put into was nice, too. The Doctor, an alien, was put into a situation where he was supposed to interact with humans and deal with them. Let's face it, aside from a few select people, he doesn't really get along with most humans. He doesn't form bonds, except with his companion, so this was supposed to call him out on that (but of course, he fucks that up by evicting himself, ha). And Rose has always had this self-confidence issue about her intelligence. She may not be the smartest person in the world, but she's not dumb either and has plenty of moments of brilliance. Despite that, she gets a lot of slack for being dumb. And Captain Jack… well, he's so self-assured and he got put in a room with robots who want to switch his dashing-good-looks for a dog's head. Ha!

  12. Hanah says:


    I remember being so horrified when Rose got shot, because I really and truly thought she was dead. And I loved Rose πŸ™ But then she was alive so yay (and I am actually a massive fan of the 'they're dead! Nope, actually, they're alive!' because I adore the emotional reaction of everyone else beyond words. Pain apparently pleases me, does that make me fucked up? :P) but then with the Daleks and just OH MY GOD BRAIN MELT.

    Also, how awesome was the Controller? And then the Doctor just storming in with the gun and being all 'oh come on did you really expect me to use it?'


  13. Openattheclose says:

    YES! I love this episode so much. What did you think of "sweet" Lynda?

    "I'm gonna save Rose Tyler…" is totes the best quote ever. It just gives me shivers reading it, and CE delivers it so wonderfully.

    So do these reality shows that "kill" the contestants remind you of anything?

  14. Asta says:

    This is such a great review πŸ˜€
    I love how you totally get The Moff already.

  15. echinodermata says:

    Jack feeling up the robots is amazing. I mean, this is an awesome episode and so much happened, but since I know what's coming the episode's not as exciting as that first time, especially when the season finale has yet to be watched, I'm mostly captivated by Captain Jack.

    Oh John Barrowman, you were made for this role.

  16. who cares says:

    Random fact: There was a Doctor Who special of the weakest link after the second series. Obviously it's pretty spoilery.

  17. agrinningfool says:


    *squeaks and covers mouth*

  18. Araniapriime says:

    This is why Nine is my favorite Doctor, and why I am a total Doctor/Rose OTPer. Either this Doctor or the next one, but still, Doctor/Rose 4EVA AND EVA AND EVA . (*happy happy happy*) <3 <3 <3

    By the way: believe it or not, you're STILL NOT PREPARED.

    • kelseyintherain says:

      Haha, yes I can't help but ship them either.

      And I'm sure at this point that Mark has given up on being prepared for anything ever. πŸ˜‰

    • thirty2flavors says:

      Mark just said he doesn't know when/how any of the companions leave though, does that make this a spoiler?

      • Araniapriime says:

        1) I didn't say a thing about companions leaving, or when.
        2) We've discussed other Doctors and Companions in the "vote for your old skool Who episode" thread, so Mark is quite aware of the existence of other Doctors.

        If, on the other hand, Mark thinks what I said is a a spoiler, he is perfectly welcome to chastise me himself, and I will happily bend over and say, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?" πŸ˜‰

    • Tauriel says:

      Um, sorry, but no. Rose is a good companion, but I find the Doctor/Rose pairing completely awkward. He's a 900-year old alien, for heaven's sake! The only pairing I'd accept would be Doctor/Romana (and let's face it, Four and Romana II are awesome together).

      • Araniapriime says:

        Don't give me your "um, no." I didn't say EVERYONE MUST ship Doctor/Rose or Doctor/ANYONE. My preferences and opinions are equally as valid as yours; that's why it's called opinion and preference. Was I disparaging your preferences? NO. I was just stating mine.

        Personally, I think Four is an idiot and I've never liked him. But that's just my PREFERENCE, and you're welcome to yours. Get it?

        • Tauriel says:

          I thought it was obvious that I was only posting my opinion…

          • Araniapriime says:

            It wasn't obvious at all. Replies that start "um no" mostly end up sounding sarcastic, judgmental and disparaging. If you had started with "I find the Doctor/Roses pairing…" it would have sounded like you were just posting your opinion, and it wouldn't have led to the misunderstanding. Remember, this is the Internet, where I can't see your face or hear your tone of voice.

  19. Matthew says:

    They did a Doctor Who weakest link special in 2007, with the non-SF questions from this episode mixed in (and the Anne Droid). It was shown just before series three started, so it's very spoilery for series two and a little bit for Torchwood. Still, it's worth saving the link for when it no longer spoils:

    Also, the BBC did a Bad Wolf site, which you can still look at here:

    Unfortunately, they updated the "Unsolved" page with the explanation of what it all means – so DON'T CLICK ON THAT LINK. The rest of the site is fine, though.

  20. empath_eia says:

    This is kind of an unpopular opinion, but I love RTD to death. (I love Moffat, too, because how could you not, but just… not quite as much.)

    • thirty2flavors says:

      I agree, RTD's stuff is usually like it was TAILOR MADE FOR ME because it is always so supremely relevant to my interests. Four for you, RTD.

    • Vicki_Louise says:

      I couldn't agree more! I adore RTD's writing, it speaks to me far much more than the other writers, who are aslo fantastic! I just prefer RTD.

    • arctic_hare says:

      I have a complex love/hate relationship with RTD, lol, and I can't elaborate on why without SPOILERS.

      I love Moffat's writing, he's almost as good at reaching into my brain/heart to find what I love and need as Bryan Fuller did with Pushing Daisies. I just wish he'd not give interviews, haha.

    • sabra_n says:

      I love a lot of RTD's non-Who work as well as a good chunk of Who. He just…has weaknesses as well as strengths as a writer, and being on a series for as long as he was on Who left the weaknesses more exposed than they were on shorter projects he planned from beginning to end, like Bob and Rose or Second Coming.

      Yes, there were times when I totally cursed him out, and I'm cynical as hell about certain tropes of his, but he's still super talented, and whenever he gets to a non-Whoniverse project I'll really be looking forward to it. In the end, he's the guy who succeeded where others had failed, brought back Doctor Who, and not only restored it to its previous levels of popularity and cultural relevance but managed two spinoffs as well. We fan-creatures have a lot to thank him for. πŸ™‚

    • Openattheclose says:

      I love him too. I've said before that I think Moffat is a better writer than showrunner, and I think RTD is good at both.

    • MichelleZB says:

      I love RTD too! He's always got a moral or two tucked into his writing.

      And he's a great showrunner. All those great Moffat episodes we love were written under RTD's watch.

    • Megan says:

      I like RTD more than Moffat. Definitely. RTD seems to channel more Joss Whedon than Moffat and Joss is my favoritr writer/director.

  21. thirty2flavors says:

    This finale is so good! I always forget how totally awesoe it is because I don't think about s1 very often. I distinctly remember being utterly DELIGHTED by the lulzy prospect of Rose, Jack and the Doctor on reality tv shows — especially because I watched in 2008 and so Big Brother and Weakest Link felt sort of comically dated to me — and then suddenly, as you said, RTD PUNCHES YOU IN THE FACE with drama and Daleks and disintegration ray things. And Nine's speech at the end is so good, and zomg. Love it.

    Also, Lynda-with-a-y is boss.

  22. Skit says:

    YEAH, RTD HAS HIS MOMENTS OF TERRIFYING TOO. Moffat still holds the title, but RTD has proved he can crank up the fear too. There's one particular episode (so far in the future aaaah) that I cannot WAIT for you to hit.


  23. Thennary Nak says:

    One of the things I love about this episode is that RTD gets to slip in a Torchwood reference so early in the series.

    • calimie says:

      I think it wasn't about Torchwood the series. When they started working in DW Torchwood was the fake name they used for the project, it was on the tapes sent to the BBC, I believe. Then it became public knowledge and they reused it for, welll, Torchwood.

      So the use of Torchwood here might have been a nod to DW's fake name.

      • nanceoir says:

        Well, it was a very specific reference to Torchwood, so I've always thought that it was RTD laying the pipe for the spinoff.

        • calimie says:

          You might be right then, I didn't think they'd be preparing the spin off so early in the series, when they didn't even know if the audience would like Captain Jack.

          • rys says:

            I feel like an arse for asking — but is the Jack/Torchwood connection spoilery to mention?

            • calimie says:

              I think that, in theory, yes. But probably Mark already knows ten times over by now, particularly after The Unquiet Dead and Aliens of London/WW3.

              And never feel like an arse for asking! Only feel like one for not asking.

      • I <3 that Torchwood is an anagram of Doctor Who

  24. Vicki_Louise says:

    I love this episode! I love how it starts so ridiculously, game shows, big brother, droids, but then BAM! Shit gets real! I love the music, Murray Gold really steps up for this episode, the music is so epic and operatic, it gives me goosebumps everytime! My favourite ever Dalek line is in this episode, "We have your associate". It may seem like an insignificant line but to me it says so much, it gives you a perfect example of the way the Daleks think: They don't say "we have your girlfriend", "we have you wife", "we have your friend", it's literally just someone who is associated with the Doctor, there's no feeling to it, no emotion, no concept of relationships. It's the perfect description of the Daleks and i love it! (Maybe i look at the details to much but i can't help it, i love detail!) Captain Jack is the Casanova of space, if you have a pulse he will want to 'dance' with you! (though a pulse isn't strictly necessary). I love the look on the Doctors face when Rose is disintegrated, it's like 'i've done it again, let someone i care about die'. Chris is incredible!

    • flootzavut says:

      Language anorak moment: I love that the lyrics to the dalek music are in Hebrew (why Hebrew I have no idea but whatever, it's a cool language so I am already stoked) and, if memory serves, mean "Oh what is it?" (or possibly "oh, what is happening?"). Tickled me immeasurably πŸ™‚

      • calimie says:

        Is that what they mean? Fantastic.

        Now I'm picturing Israeli viewers going WTF at the lyrics, lol.

        • sabra_n says:

          I am Israeli and I never got that those were the words until years later when I read a recap that mentioned it. It is perfectly comprehensible when I listen to it now, but the emphasis is on the wrong syllable of "koreh", so it wasn't self-evident for me. Also, I admit I'm not exactly listening for Hebrew in the background music of an English-language show. Heh.

          The translation, BTW, is "oh, what is happening?"

          Oh = oh
          Mah = what
          Koreh = happening

      • arctic_hare says:

        Maybe a bit of bizarre irony, since the Daleks were intended to be Space Nazis?

  25. Kaci says:

    Jack Harkness would hit on a sentient ficus as long as it could consent to his filthy plans for it. And John Barrowman could play the scene with complete seriousness and actually have chemistry with the damn thing. You know this to be true.

    Sadly, you are still not yet prepared for the Big Bad Wolf, Mark.

  26. prideofportree says:

    After Doctor Who, I strongly recommend you to see Veronica Mars, Mark! It's basically made of win.

    • Kaci says:

      Can I +1 this x infinity? I'm re-watching that series now and have been thinking how much Mark would love it.

      • prideofportree says:

        Logan's character development is like, so epic it's barely funny.

        • nyssaoftraken74 says:

          I've actually got Season 1 box set lined up, co-incidentally. Saw it on TV ages ago, but I think a missed a few episodes and literally lost the plot.

        • Kaci says:

          It actually comes across really forced to me. And I hate that it was because of fandom interest, not because that was the plan all along (I hate showrunners who give in to fans instead of sticking with whatever their original plan was; it shows me a lack of integrity on their part).

          Sorry. I can not stand Logan like, at all. Which is a shame, because I really love Jason Dohring's acting and think he certainly gave it a red hot go to make the material he was given believable. Unfortunately, nothing could save that.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Haha, are you me? I just started on season 2 and am deciding whether or not to continue pretending that season 3 doesn't exist.

        • prideofportree says:

          I like to pretend that most of season 2 doesn't exist, because I find Duncan kind of… meh.

          I relate to Veronica for ever and ever, though.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I will watch Veronica Mars at some point. I promise! (And for Mark Watches. Maybe after Battlestar!)

      • sabra_n says:

        REALLY? I AM EXCITE!!11!!!!!


      • cjm62790 says:

        You are doing Battlestar?!?!?!?! Mark, you just made my life. First Harry Potter, then Firefly, now Doctor Who, soon Fringe, later Battlestar….. *explodes from the combined force of awesome*

      • NB2000 says:

        Oooh BSG! Yay!

      • spectralbovine says:

        Oh man, I am so excited for that!! And BSG! And Fringe! You are watching all the good things. Well done.

        Now I just have to convince you to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender, if only to expose your readership to one of the most unexpectedly amazing television shows ever (and combat any and all negative bias generated by M. Night Shyamalan).

        • He's already planning to watch that after Who and before Battlestar. πŸ˜›

          </stalks Mark's comments>

          • Tauriel says:

            Oh yes, please, Mark, you simply MUST watch and review Avatar: The Last Airbender (better forget the travesty that was the Shyamalan movie right away). Sure, it's a kids' cartoon, but HP were originally children's books, too, and look how they evolved. πŸ™‚ And so did A:TLA (admittedly, it hadn't matured as much as HP, but still).

      • Starsea28 says:

        OMG YAY! Veronica Mars has great characters, mystery, twists galore… Can't say any more without spoiling you because it's like the TV version of Harry Potter.

    • sabra_n says:

      S1 only, if you're going to go that route. I mean, there were some good times afterwards, but the show was never the same.

  27. Steve M says:

    Think others have covered most of what I would say but… can we have a moment for Mr Ecclestone here? His performance in this is great (as, let's face it, is his entire run in the series to date) but from the moment Rose gets zapped by the Ann Droid (groan) he just cranks it up to levels that, uh, let's say set a VERY high bar for those that follow. You totally buy his Doctor being pissed off enough to use the BFG while they're going up in the lift, his reactions to the Dalek fleet are perfect, the big heroic speech at the end simply, well, fantastic πŸ˜‰

  28. crazyravenclaw says:

    This episode. I always forget about this episode, and then I rewatch series 1 and don't know how the fuck I could forget something this fantastic.

  29. Vicki_Louise says:

    I also love the voice of the Daleks, which is this lovely man:

    <imgsrc="[IMG ][/IMG]">

  30. who cares says:

    Can't believe no on has mentioned this little gem yet.

    Jack: Am I naked in front of millions of viewers?
    Droids: Absolutely
    Jack: Ladies, your viewing figures just went up.

    • Hypatia_ says:

      And then he hits on them. I guess it doesn't even have to be a life-form, strictly speaking, for Jack to hit on him/her/it/whatever pronoun any alien species may prefer. Just sentient and open to having some fun.

  31. cdnstar says:

    I find this episode so very depressing, in terms of where the human race has progressed – having gone no further than game shows and vegetating in front of the tv – with the addition of the threat of death. Yes, fine – it is all being controlled and formed by the Daleks, but it is so depressing, as that is one of the things that irks me about society NOW. That affected me more, I think, than the return of the Daleks when I rewatched the episode today.

    I can't rightly remember how I felt when I watched it the first time, but I bet I was totally shocked. Ah, how much you forget over 5 years.

    • TimeCat says:

      Gotta agree with you there. Doctor Who presents a lot of horrifying visions of the future… but this is quite possibly the one that disturbs me the most on a gut level. Reality shows (which I despise and believe are steadily taking the place of real art) + air too polluted to breath + NO ONE IS SAFE = oh god nightmares.

  32. kaleidoscoptics says:

    And still, Mark, you may not yet be prepared.

    The reveal that the Doctor was part of what messed everything up is absolutely brilliant. The Daleks know he would naturally want to destroy what he sees as a corrupt situation, so they used that against him.

    • TimeCat says:

      Yes yes. The new series in general – though much more in later seasons – has often been criticised for making the Doctor into an infallible god figure. Then something like this happens, and you remember that he really is just renegade who patches up problems where he finds them, but rarely thinks about the long-term consequences.

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  34. RJM says:

    Hahahah, yes. Captain Jack is omnisexual! He will literally flirt with anyone, of any gender or species. YOU ARE NOT PREPARED.

  35. Tilja says:

    I don't know where you get your episodes from, but if they have it, you should watch all of the Doctor Who Confidentials for season one. They're less than half an hour long and they give a boatload of information about this season and the old series, about actors, props, themes, characters, etc. They're also narrated by Simon Pegg. Be warned that they give a lot of information on the making of the classic series as well as season one, so watch them ONLY if you don't find that kind of info dump spoilery for the classic series.

    Remember to also give warning as to when the liveblog from Christmas Invasion will be done.

    Good luck on tomorrow's finale!

    • nyssaoftraken74 says:

      Oh yes, please, warn away for Christmas Invasion (which really must begin with the Children in Need cutaway scene). I'm glad you're watching a classic Who on Tuesday because I'm away that evening but I'm back Wednesday, so hooray for that timing! πŸ™‚

      In the meantime, Here Come the DALEKS!! *hides*

    • Briana says:

      Actually, series 1 & 2 Confidentials are a half hour long, but from series 3 on, the length was increased to 45 minutes. I agree wholeheartedly that the Confidentials are AWESOME. I look forward to watching them just as much as the actual episodes!

      • who cares says:

        They're not as good as they used to be frankly I think they're too long now. Not that they're not still very informing about the episode in question as every episode is so different there's always something to talk about but generally they end up spending too much time on some subject. Do we really need ten minutes on some simple wirework?

      • Tilja says:

        When I got the series I didn't know there was a Confidentials special around, and by the time I learned of it (during the season 4 specials) I couldn't find them. Now I finally got them a couple of days back and I'm going through the first season right now. I don't know yet when did they change the lenght but I only mentioned the first season because that's where Mark's right now and what'd make sense to him.

        I agree with the one above me, it's really not worth it for them to be longer than half an hour. It feels as if they need to occupy time with anything at hand that might or might not get repeated in another episode and then they'll have to make up something else to fill time in there. The first season where four older Doctors speak was worth the hour long they didn't get; it was basically telling you the making of the previous 30 years worth of show. But after that… It's just filler stuff.

    • flootzavut says:

      DWC is awesome, sometimes I even enjoyed them more than the episodes hah unfortunately the full length DWCs are not on the discs but it would be worth trawling youtube.

      And of course Peggy as narrator is an extra bonus. He is such a fanboy πŸ™‚

  36. arctic_hare says:


    I agree, that is the best way to pull the "just kidding, they're not REALLY dead!" thing because, to quote Henry Jones Senior, "our situation has not improved". Doesn't feel like a cheap trick/cop-out there.

    Also, fuck yes Captain Jack. And I don't know why he hid a gun there (I laughed so hard at your reaction to that, though).

  37. Imogen1984 says:

    The number of mindfucks that are coming your way are impossible to quantify, Mark.

  38. doesntsparkle says:

    I've seen this episode a few times, but this is the first time that noticed Captain Jack feeling up the robot. Moments like that make it hard for me to think of this as a kids show.

    • flootzavut says:

      It's not a kids show – it's a _family_ show. Kids will miss the refernce, it's there for their parents and for the adults who will be amused.

  39. niamheryoumind says:

    "why was Harkness hiding a gun in his butt"

    Who said it was his butt? He could have all manner of hiding places and technology surgically added to all sorts of limbs or organs. πŸ˜›

    • pica_scribit says:

      Sure, but what's the first thing most people are going to assume when a naked man reaches behind himself and comes up with a small firearm? :p

  40. Minish says:


    no words

  41. nextboy says:

    never cared for the satirical reality TV stuff in this one, but from the reveal onwards it's just superb.

  42. MowerOfLorn says:

    I remember watching this episode for the first time (…which was only six months ago, so I better.) I was not really surprised by the Daleks since my friends are giant fans, so I was a titch spoiled.

    I do remember tuning in, and just being: "…we, wait, is that Big Brother? Weakest Link?! What Not To Wear?!?!" It was incredibly disconcerting. And now, looking back, the premise itself, is much more terrifying and depressing. It may not be as scary as a creepy piece of nightmare fuel, but scary in this strange, this-could-actually-happen kind of way.

  43. Trinny and Susanna of What Not to Wear voiced themselves too, and giggled over their bust sizes being the same in their android selves. πŸ˜›

  44. psycicflower says:

    I don't make gifs, just save them and figure I may as well spread the love.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  45. fakehepburn says:

    I don't know if anybody's posted this yet, but this is the weirdest fucking thing:

    It seems legit. The copyright is from 1997…

    I'm scared, you guys.

  46. sabra_n says:


    I'm so glad this episode punched you in the face! Erm…in a "this plot development is really shocking" sort of way, of course. Because "Dalek" did such an awesome job of setting up the menace and terror and total unstoppability of one Dalek, seeing thousands of them arrayed in space really is brain-melting.

    RTD is a total pop culture junkie – this was his idea of a loving homage to reality TV. πŸ˜›

    And yes, Jack will hit on absolutely anything and fandom loves him for it. I really love Jack as we see him in these last few episodes of the season – reformed and loyal to the Doctor, yes, but not without a bit of shark in him. He looks like he should be a classic matinee-idol hero, but he's not nice enough for that. He is, however, brimming with his own naughty joie de vivre, which is (along with his heroic moments) what keeps him likable.

    As for the Doctor…oh, Nine. Eccleston runs the emotional gamut so fluidly you can almost take it for granted – snark in the Big Brother House, tender encouragement and silliness with Lynda, total despair when Rose is hit, vicious efficiency in the escape with Jack, and finally that awesomely rousing speech at the end – the actor and the character are both really at their best here. He makes you believe he can do everything he said, just through the sheer force of his convictions.

    I'd forgotten how bad Rose's mascara was, but my goodness, it was awful. Bless.


  47. Paul says:

    Oh man, I was going to leave a quote, which it turns out is in the next episode. I'm glad I checked.

  48. Kibblie says:

    Ah, Jack Harkness. Thank you for being pan πŸ™‚

    • Hypatia_ says:

      Hmmm, is "pansexual" or "omnisexual" a better term for Jack? I usually hear omnisexual, but might the other work too?

      • xiri says:

        My understanding is that they're technically synonyms. That being said, although I've known of the term 'pansexual' from when I was in highschool, I'd never even heard of 'omnisexual' until about a month ago. It feels like a word that was made up by someone who didn't know we had 'pansexual'.

        Every time someone says "omnisexual", I think of a sex partner who goes OM NOM NOM at really inappropriate times.

  49. vermillioncity says:

    I remember being SO. GODDAMN. SHOCKED. when Rose was 'disintergrated'. I need to watch that back, I remember it as such a powerful moment.

    Not that I am a Moffat expert or anything
    Trolololol for some reason this made me want to squish you, Mark <3

  50. spectralbovine says:


    “The Long Game” was never truly explained as a title, even though we thought it was. It was a hint to the endgame of the series.
    It took a great amount of self-control not to hint at how fucking awesome that title was. The fact that the title to a previous episode was explained in this episode blew me away.

    And Bad Wolf. The Badwolf Corporation runs everything. And it’s FUCKING DALEKS.

    That was my brain this episode. I can’t believe it. I FEEL USED AND TRICKED. Oh my god, astral plane high fives to Russell Davies for this brilliance.
    Save some high fives for the finale, man.

    The Doctor heroically stands up to them, giving one hell of a speech
    Oh yeah, that speech is so badass.

    “But you have no weapons, no defenses, no plan.” “Yeah, and doesn’t that scare you to death?” BEST QUOTE EVER OR BEST QUOTE EVER


  51. FlameRaven says:

    Well, I'm glad you enjoyed the surprise of the Daleks. Personally, as soon as I saw the robot host of The Weakest Link destroying people, I thought "hmmm her body is suspiciously Dalek-like…." and yeah. SUDDENLY DALEKS. EVERYWHERE.

    Actually, reality shows that kill you are not really Moffat-land. Moffat takes much more simple, primitive fears. Childish fears. Like losing your mom. And… other things. >P RTD favors more drama– thus, we get half a million Daleks and something that promises to be a giant battle.

  52. Karen says:

    So my life is very ~tragic~ and my internet was down for most of the day. SO I AM LATE TO THE PARTY, BUT IDEC.

    These two episodes are my second favorite story of series 1 (Father's Day will forever be #1 in my heart).

    I would have expected a premise like this (citizens forced to play games and be on reality TV, with the grand prize being life) from Moffat. Not that I am a Moffat expert or anything, but the idea that something so banal could be so terrifying seems quite Moffat.
    Actually, I think that it is very RTD. One of my favorite things about him as a writer is that he takes themes and issues from the present and uses science fiction as a means of exploring them. Like, in The Long Game, he looks at how controlling the media can be used to control people. So this commentary on reality TV (like Big Brother is still HUGE in Britain. lol. You have no idea. It's ridiculous.) really does fit in with his style, imo.

    I love Lynda with a “y”. I think she’s a great example of the kinds of female characters that RTD can write. Lynda isn’t defined by romantic involvement with men or motherhood or anything like that. She feels like a distinct character unto herself. She’s sweet and plucky. She’s not especially brave, but she can be when necessary. I love her. She's just an ordinary person who makes the right choices. She also has a really great rapport with Nine. LOVE.

    I also love the Controller. She’s another great character by RTD. She doesn’t have many lines, but she’s a hero. And in her few lines you get a feel for her loneliness and the horrible life that she’s had. She’s smart too. She knows that she’ll be able to hide from the Daleks during the solar flares and able to hide the Doctor in the games. Also, it’s just an awesomely interesting and slightly creepy character.

    Jack is pretty great in this episode too. Not only does he have some great comic moments in his What Not To Wear segment, we also see how much he's grown in the time he's been with the Doctor. He really is a hero now. We also see how much he's come to care for Rose. His anger when he thinks that Rose has been killed is really heart wrenching. His defensiveness of the Doctor at the moment is great too. They’ve become something of a family.

    <img src=""&gt;

    The look on the Doctor’s face when he thinks that he’s lost Rose is just heart breaking. He just goes completely blank. But he keeps fighting. He (and Jack. And Lynda) break out of their jail cell. And then yay! The look on the Doctor’s face when he realizes that Rose is still alive is just brilliant. πŸ˜€

  53. rainbowsinside says:

    I absolutely loved that there's no discrimination with who Captain Jack will hit on. It makes me so happy to see.

    Oh god Daleks.

    While I was watching this episode last night, it hit me halfway through that this was the second to last episode of the season. Which meant there would be a new Doctor very soon. For some reason I kept thinking we'd be with Eccleston for a lot longer. And then I was sad.

    Also, I couldn't help myself and went and watched the last episode. Oh god I was SO not prepared!

  54. Hotaru-hime says:

    At least you noticed Bad Wolf cropping up. I didn't until the TARDIS was graffitied.
    Captain Jack is omnisexual. If there's a hole, he will put it in.

  55. Danielle says:

    You still are not prepared. YOU STILL DO NOT KNOW WHAT BAD WOLF IS.

  56. Elfy says:

    I hope this isn't considered a spoiler, but the line Captain Jack Harkness will hit on anyone needs to ammended to ANYTHING.

  57. buyn says:

    Bad Wolf rates a 3 for scariness. However, it also has a High HSQ.
    Favorite part? " It's the buccaneer-look. A little bit of pirate and just a tweak of President Schwarzenegger." Ah, so we know who to expect in the white house then, eh? Not that current laws accept him.


  58. Penquin47 says:

    From what we've seen, the Doctor's got two big berserk buttons. Daleks and threats to Rose Tyler.

    This episode shows what happens when you mash down both of them at the same time. It's brilliant.

  59. I couldn't watch this episode without sharing this icon:

    <img src=""&gt;

  60. Terra says:

    Just wanted to leave this here.

    <img src=""&gt;
    <font size=6>YOU ARE NOT PREPARED</font>

  61. pica_scribit says:

    Mark, are you prepared for tomorrow? No, you are not! Enjoy the ride!

  62. Tasneemoo says:

    this episode is easily my favourite CE – Eccelstone is the Big Brother house = genius πŸ™‚ About the only episode of Big Brother I've actually ever bothered to see? Although his series seemed more like series 1 of Big Brother, which was pretty awesome. then 'pweeeeoah' <– (that's the show going downhill)

    I was going to reccommend Downton Abbey to you but i heard they were cutting the plotlines for American viewers (because apparently you have shorter attention spans? lolwut?!) It wouldn't be the same.
    And because you probably won't watch it, I'm going to tell you straight up right now – somebody dies from sex.

  63. lezah says:

    Now that you've worked it out, Jack will do anything with a shadow.


    • liliaeth says:

      and a couple of other things without *eg*, he doesn't discriminate based on having a shadow or not πŸ˜‰

  64. THE Nessa says:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="tennant-RISOTTO Pictures, Images and Photos"/>


  65. barnswallowkate says:

    "And Bad Wolf. The Badwolf Corporation runs everything. And it’s FUCKING DALEKS."

    Fucking Daleks, how do they work??

  66. Vicki_Louise says:

    The wait for the next review is unbearable! I have so many squeeeeeeeees that need to be let out! ARRRRRHHHHHHH.

    • exbestfriend says:

      I totally agree. It's tough to say what Mark should do because I think spacing out watching the episodes adds to the drama and makes you think about what you just watched in a more critical manner, but GEEEZ how can he stand the waiting? This isn't like real time when we HAD to wait. It's there. It's just a couple more clicks of a button. Of course at this point I am way more ravenous for Mark Watches reviews to pop up than I am for Mark Reads, but I think it has to do with the fact that he is at the end of the season of Doctor Who, but still in the middle of Catching Fire.

  67. Starsea28 says:

    I have issues with RTD but I love this reveal. The Daleks were manipulating everything, including the Doctor. Rose is killed off and then brought back again. Christopher Eccleston's Doctor then has one of the best "Fear Me" speeches in the history of the series and he acts his socks off and when he says "I'm coming to get you", you want to punch the air because everything is going to be all right.

  68. celestineangel1 says:

    Definitely BEST QUOTE EVER.

  69. liselfwench says:

    Watch this, it's a mini Dr Who episode, filmed for Children In Need. It takes place right after Nine regenerates, but before the Christmas special, so there's no spoilers for the upcoming season.…!

  70. Mel says:

    Guess what Mark?


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